Editorial: Wanting more details on Romney’s PTC position
Op-Ed · July 20, 2012

We would like to call on Mitt Romney’s campaign to clarify its position on ending the Production Tax Credit.

Staff members of the likely Republican candidate have recently said that he would favor ending the PTC, but they did not state whether he would favor phasing it out or ending it immediately.

This quote comes from the Romney Web site, on the discussion of energy: “(W)e should not be in the business of steering investment toward particular politically favored approaches. That is a recipe for both time and money wasted on projects that do not bring us dividends. The failure of windmills and solar plants to become economically viable or make a significant contribution to our energy supply is a prime example.”

The PTC directly benefits Acciona Windpower in West Branch because it provides tax credits of 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour from wind facilities in service before Dec. 31, 2012. Both Republicans and Democrats from Iowa’s Congressional caucus support the PTC because it helps support 6,000 to 7,000 jobs here.

But the bigger concern is that clean air is a priority for the federal government, which is what spurred interest in the PTC when Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley proposed it 20 years ago. This is not just an issue for Iowa.

The goal for the federal government should not be to stimulate the wind industry until it overtakes fossil-fuel energy production. The federal government should set realistic goals for reduced carbon emissions and wisely use incentives to encourage the private sector to invest in proven technology that helps America work toward those goals.

On the fossil fuel side, we have coal, oil and natural gas. On the “clean air” side we have wind, solar and hydro and geothermal. (Nuclear energy is renewable, but many people do not want plants near their homes.)

The goal of the federal government should be to help stimulate at least one of the renewable energy industries to the point that it can compete with the least expensive of the fossil fuels, and give the private sector a choice that does not pivot primarily on cost.

The PTC is one way to do that, and wind energy is the most viable of all non-fossil fuels.

We hope that the Romney campaign will review this energy issue more and elaborate their position on the PTC.

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